Sunday, May 27, 2018

2018 I Bird NY Birding Challenges Announced

bald eagleNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the launch of two birding challenges for 2018 through the State’s I BIRD NY program. I BIRD NY was launched in 2017.

New York habitats support more than 450 different bird species. There are also 59 Bird Conservation Areas across the state. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Equipment Failure At Adirondack Hatchery Hits Salmon Stocks

adirondack fish hatcheryA severe storm Friday, May 4, cut power to the Adirondack Fish Hatchery at Lake Clear, east of Saranac Lake, killing most of the salmon stock.

Power lines to the hatchery were downed during the storm according to DEC, causing the facility’s backup generator to activate. When power was restored from the grid, it caused the backup generator to go off-line, and a transfer switch failed. That failure prevented the flow of well water into the raceways, depriving the salmon of oxygenated water.

The New York State Conservation Council estimates more than 85% of the salmon that remained in the raceways following the spring stocking operations were lost – or more than 250,000 fish. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Spoonwood: Mountain Laurel

mountain laurelIf you were fortunate enough to grow up with freedom to roam outdoors, there are likely certain places that stick with you. For me, one of these places is a thicket of old mountain laurels that my brother and I hiked through on our way to an outcrop we called The Ledge. What I loved about them was how their shreddy, red-brown trunks forked and twisted, like trees in a fairy tale, or in the Haunted Forest on the way to Oz. In early summer, they held delicate pink and white flowers that were sticky to the touch — another sign that they were, if not enchanted, at least special. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Adirondack Ruffed Grouse In Spring

Ruffed GrouseIt is traditional backwoods wisdom to avoid getting between a mother and her babies, and while this advice usually pertains to the black bear, it could also apply to several other forms of wildlife that reside in the Adirondacks.

In late spring many infants are emerging from the safety of their den or nest and most mothers try to provide some form of protection from potential danger to their babies. Perhaps the most remarkable display of parental courage for a creature of its size is seen in the hen ruffed grouse. This bird will aggressively confront and challenge any human that happens to come too close to its recently hatched chicks. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Adirondack Wildlife: If You Care, Leave It There

young buck fawnThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has cautioned visitors to natural areas against interacting with newborn fawns and other young wildlife as the peak birthing season starts. Those that see a fawn or other newborn wildlife should enjoy their encounter but keep it brief, maintain some distance, and not attempt to touch the animal.

This time of year, it is not unusual to see a young bird crouched in the yard or a young rabbit in the flower garden, both seemingly abandoned. Finding a deer fawn lying by itself is also common. Many people assume that young wildlife found alone are helpless and need assistance. However, human interaction typically does more damage than good. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Wild Center’s 2018 Summer Events

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake has issued the following 2018 summer schedule of events, including scenic tours, paddling trips, documentary showings, presentations, and more: » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Wild Foods: Take Fewer Leeks

Deep fried ramps sign at Mason Dixon Ramp Fest in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania Friends and family understand that some of my dinners can be pretty wild. For example, right now they may include mashed sunchoke or “Jerusalem artichoke” tubers that escaped the voles and mice over the winter, as well as a steaming plate of tender, sweet nettles. (When cooked, the latter lose their sting, becoming tame as kittens. Better even, because they don’t shed.)

But the tastiest wild food around in very early spring is our native wild leek, Allium tricoccum, a.k.a. wild garlic, spring onion, or ramp (from “ramson,” a name for a similar European species). It pushes its light green leaves up through the leaf litter in hardwood forests along eastern North America, from Québec and Ontario south to South Carolina, in very early spring. They grow in clumps, occasionally forming large colonies which in some places carpet the forest floor. They last for only a few weeks, fading away by late June. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Wild Pollinators And Crop Viability

pollinatorsIf you’re like me, you enjoy the beauty of colorful flowers and love eating fresh fruits and vegetables. You recognize that many of the medicines and supplements we use come from plants. And you realize that the astounding diversity of ornamental, food, and medicinal plants that we grow or forage would not exist, if not for the interdependent synergy (referred to in biology as ‘mutualism’) that exists between flowering plants and their pollinators (bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies). » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tim Rowland: Filling The Feeder Is For The Birds

bird feeder Somewhere I read that up here in the Adirondacks you should not feed the birds after March 31st. I forget the exact logic. The article provided one of those explanations that, you know, sounded quasi-plausible, but might have just been something that a guy would tell his wife so he wouldn’t have to go out into the yard and top off the feeder for the 7,000th time this year.

I think it had to do with birds needing to fend for themselves, and several other sundry character issues that I hadn’t thought of as applying to wildlife. I sort of understand, though. It’s like all our kids thinking that food comes from a supermarket instead of a farm. Maybe bird-parents sit around Starbucks saying, “Fledglings today, do you believe it? They think everything comes from a feeder. They don’t realize all the work it takes to peck it out of a seedhead.” » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Moles and Voles and Yards with Holes

star-nosed mole It’s spring. Days are getting longer. The weather’s getting warmer. The sun is sitting higher in the sky. And, as I write this, the persistent snow in my yard is finally giving way to bare ground.

This is the time of year when the consumer horticulture season really begins in earnest at Cooperative Extension. It often starts with questions from anxious callers about recently discovered lawn, landscape, and garden damage; often from wildlife pests. Questions about mice, squirrels, and chipmunks are frequent. But, perhaps because of their tenacious tunneling activities, the most noteworthy culprits of concern to frazzled callers are meadow voles and hairy, or more often, star-nosed moles, the 2 mole species that live in northern New York. » Continue Reading.


Friday, April 20, 2018

Make A Simple Leopold Bench

One of the most memorable occasions I have had with my children is an afternoon workshop at the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in Newcomb.

The day was spent skiing the free AIC trails, sipping hot chocolate while counting birds at the window feeder, and building a Leopold bench. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Forest Pests: Velvet Longhorn Beetles

velvet longhorned beetleSome invasive insects appear to be trying to win us over through sly public-relations moves. Emerald ash borer (EAB), the Asian beetle killing our ash trees, arrived looking like it just came from a Mary Kay convention, all bright, glitzy and glitter-coated. And it could have been simply called the green ash borer, but instead managed to get itself branded “emerald,” something everyone likes.

A new forest pest on the horizon seems to have taken a page from EAB. Trichoferus campestris, better known as the velvet longhorned beetle, has cleverly brought the cuddliness of the Velveteen Rabbit and the romantic image of Texas Longhorns together in its name. Don’t be fooled by this brilliant strategy, though. Let’s pull back the curtain and expose the velvet longhorned beetle (VLB) for what it really is. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Thatcher’s Remains: Lyrid Meteor Shower April 16-25

lyrid meteor showerIn the pre-dawn hours of April 22, the Lyrid meteor shower will peak. About 15 to 20 meteors will be visible each hour, which  is really not very many. By comparison, the Perseid meteor shower in August averages about 60 to 70 an hour, and the Geminid in December can top 120. But I’m most fascinated by the Lyrid.

Here’s why: More than 2,700 years ago, someone in China looked to the heavens, observed this meteor shower, and left a written record of what they saw. And so this yearly event has been happening for millennia – it is perhaps the oldest meteor shower known to humans. I love that when I step outside to watch the Lyrid, I am connected to that long-ago human being from a far off place, and to all of those who have followed. We are fleeting observers of an enduring phenomenon. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Northern New York Audubon Invites Public Comment

northern new york audubonNorthern New York Audubon (NNYA) is seeking public comment and input into the organization’s future goals and activities.

A non-profit organization solely focused on bird-related conservation and education, NNYA is one of 27 New York State Chapters of the National Audubon Society. NNYA serves North Country habitats and communities with birding field trips, a conservation grant program, a birding newsletter, and more. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cornell Researchers Advancing Industrial Hemp

Christine Smart professor of plant pathology and director of the School of Integrative Plant Science discusses Cornell hemp researchAs farmers across the state get ready for the 2018 growing season, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is preparing to oversee a second year of industrial hemp field trials across New York State.

Cornell has been funded to develop, support, and advance the best management practices for optimal growing and processing of industrial hemp. Cornell scientists and research technicians are continuing to study and evaluate potential production barriers (e.g. disease and insect pests) and to identify and breed the best commercially available hemp cultivars for the state’s broad range of agricultural environments. The goals of the program include establishing certified seed production within the state and developing basic agronomic and production-cost information for growing industrial hemp in different locations around New York State. » Continue Reading.